At 5-foot-6, she's not the tallest outside hitter.
But despite her stature, Erin Sorahan has had a big impact for Grand Island Northwest.
After transferring from Grand Island Central Catholic, Sorahan was a member of the Vikings' state championship squad last year. As a senior this season, she's even more comfortable at Northwest, helping the top-ranked team in Class B start 13-0.
“Things are going really well this year,” she said. “I've gotten to know the girls better, and everything seems to be going pretty smoothly.”
Sorahan, who averages 3.4 kills per set, worked hard to make even more of an impact this year. She trained with the school's strength coach to improve her vertical leap and add muscle, which hasn't escaped the attention of coach Diane Rouzee.
“She's jumping higher and hitting harder,” the coach said. “For a girl who is not that big, she can really pound that ball to the floor.”
Rouzee, The World-Herald's 2012 high school girls coach of the year, nearly experienced that power at practice after a blast by Sorahan.
“I felt it whoosh right past my head,” Rouzee said. “I'm really happy that just missed me.”
Sorahan was also happy she didn't nail her coach.
“I just about got her,” she said. “That wouldn't have been good.”
Sorahan is one of five returning senior starters for Northwest, which won state last season after finishing as the Class B runner-up the previous five years. The others are McKenzie Brown, Katie Placke, Kennadi Keezer and Angelica Carlini.
“I know those seniors were pretty optimistic heading into this season,” Rouzee said. “We've challenged them to keep getting better with every match because we know how tough Class B can be.”
After defeating Crete in the season opener, the Vikings went 6-0 to capture the Beatrice Invitational. On the final day of the tournament, Northwest defeated three ranked teams — Waverly, Elkhorn and Aurora — en route to the title.
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At the Grand Island Central Catholic Invitational on Sept. 14, the Vikings went 4-0 to win the crown without losing a set. A victory at Class A Kearney last week and another over Class B No. 4 Aurora on Tuesday night — Sorahan had a match-high 12 kills — gives the team momentum heading into Saturday's Grand Island Northwest Invitational.
The field includes Class B No. 2 Lincoln Pius X, Class B No. 3 Omaha Skutt and Class C-1 No. 1 Columbus Scotus.
“This is a really tough week for us,” Sorahan said. “We feel like a lot of teams are out to get us because we're the defending (state) champion, so we know that we've got to be ready for every match.”
Sorahan, who also averages 4.6 digs per set, said her second year on the team has been even more enjoyable than the first.
“I knew some of the girls last year from the club season,” she said. “But I know them all really well now and just have a really good feeling here.”
Rouzee said Sorahan also has worked to be more of a leader.
“She's more outgoing and has responded to the challenge of being a captain,” she said. “Erin wants to finish her career up strong, just like all of our seniors.”
Sorahan also has dreams of playing college volleyball.
“That's something I really want to do,” she said. “But first, I want to help this team be the best it can be.”
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